A newspaper is a periodical publication containing written information about current events and is often typed in black ink with a white or gray background.
Newspapers can cover a wide variety of fields such as politics, business, sports and art, and often include materials such as opinion columns, weather forecasts, reviews of local services, obituaries, birth notices, crosswords, editorial cartoons, comic strips, and advice columns.
Most newspapers are businesses, and they pay their expenses with a mixture of subscription revenue, newsstand sales, and advertising revenue. The journalism organizations that publish newspapers are themselves often metonymically called newspapers.
Newspapers have traditionally been published in print. However, today most newspapers are also published on websites as online newspapers, and some have even abandoned their print versions entirely.
Newspapers developed in the 17th century, as information sheets for merchants. By the early 19th century, many cities in Europe, as well as North and South America, published newspapers.
Some newspapers with high editorial independence, high journalism quality, and large circulation are viewed as newspapers of record.
OverviewNewspapers are typically published daily or weekly. News magazines are also weekly, but they have a magazine format. General-interest newspapers typically publish news articles and feature articles on national and international news as well as local news. The news includes political events and personalities, business and finance, crime, weather, and natural disasters; health and medicine, science, and computers and technology; sports; and entertainment, society, food and cooking, clothing and home fashion, and the arts.
Usually the paper is divided into sections for each of those major groupings. Most traditional papers also feature an editorial page containing editorials written by an editor and expressing an opinion on a public issue, opinion articles called "op-eds" written by guest writers, and columns that express the personal opinions of columnists, usually offering analysis and synthesis that attempts to translate the raw data of the news into information telling the reader "what it all means" and persuading them to concur. Papers also include articles which have no byline; these articles are written by staff writers.
A wide variety of material has been published in newspapers. Besides the aforementioned news, information and opinions, they include weather forecasts; criticism and reviews of the arts and of local services such as restaurants; obituaries, birth notices and graduation announcements; entertainment features such as crosswords, horoscopes, editorial cartoons, gag cartoons, and comic strips; advice columns, food, and other columns; and radio and television listings. As of 2017, newspapers may also provide information about new movies and TV shows available on streaming video services like Netflix. Newspapers have classified ad sections where people and businesses can buy small advertisements to sell goods or services; as of 2013, the huge increase in Internet websites for selling goods, such as Craigslist and eBay has led to significantly less classified ad sales for newspapers.
Most newspapers are businesses, and they pay their expenses with a mixture of subscription revenue, newsstand sales, and advertising revenue. Some newspapers are government-run or at least government-funded; their reliance on advertising revenue and on profitability is less critical to their survival. The editorial independence of a newspaper is thus always subject to the interests of someone, whether owners, advertisers, or a government. Some newspapers with high editorial independence, high journalism quality, and large circulation are viewed as newspapers of record.
Many newspapers, besides employing journalists on their own payrolls, also subscribe to news agencies , which employ journalists to find, assemble, and report the news, then sell the content to the various newspapers. This is a way to avoid duplicating the expense of reporting from around the world. Circa 2005, there were approximately 6,580 daily newspaper titles in the world selling 395 million print copies a day. The late 2000s–early 2010s global recession, combined with the rapid growth of free web-based alternatives, has helped cause a decline in advertising and circulation, as many papers had to retrench operations to stanch the losses. Worldwide annual revenue approached $100 billion in 2005-7, then plunged during the worldwide financial crisis of 2008-9. Revenue in 2016 fell to only $53 billion, hurting every major publisher as their efforts to gain online income fell far short of the goal.
The decline in advertising revenues affected both the print and online media as well as all other mediums; print advertising was once lucrative but has greatly declined, and the prices of online advertising are often lower than those of their print precursors. Besides remodeling advertising, the internet has also challenged the business models of the print-only era by crowdsourcing both publishing in general and, more specifically, journalism. In addition, the rise of news aggregators, which bundle linked articles from many online newspapers and other sources, influences the flow of web traffic. Increasing paywalling of online newspapers may be counteracting those effects. The oldest newspaper still published is the Ordinari Post Tijdender, which was established in Stockholm in 1645.
DefinitionsNewspapers typically meet four criteria:
- Public accessibility: Its contents are reasonably accessible to the public, traditionally by the paper being sold or distributed at newsstands, shops, and libraries, and, since the 1990s, made available over the Internet with online newspaper websites. While online newspapers have increased access to newspapers by people with Internet access, people without Internet or computer access may not be able to access the Internet, and thus will not be able to read online news. Literacy is also a factor which prevents people who cannot read from being able to benefit from reading newspapers.
- Periodicity: They are published at regular intervals, typically daily or weekly. This ensures that newspapers can provide information on newly-emerging news stories or events.
- Currency: Its information is as up to date as its publication schedule allows. The degree of up-to-date-ness of a print newspaper is limited by the need of time to print and distribute the newspaper. In major cities, there may be a morning edition and a later edition of the same day's paper, so that the later edition can incorporate breaking news that have occurred since the morning edition was printed. Online newspapers can be updated as frequently as new information becomes available, even a number of times per day, which means that online editions can be very up-to-date.
- Universality: Newspapers covers a range of topics, from political and business news to updates on science and technology, arts, culture, and entertainment.
Gazettes and bulletinsIn Ancient Rome, Acta Diurna, or government announcement bulletins, were produced. They were carved in metal or stone and posted in public places. In China, early government-produced news-sheets, called Dibao, circulated among court officials during the late Han dynasty. Between 713 and 734, the Kaiyuan Za Bao of the Chinese Tang Dynasty published government news; it was handwritten on silk and read by government officials. In 1582, there was the first reference to privately published newssheets in Beijing, during the late Ming Dynasty.
In early modern Europe, the increased cross-border interaction created a rising need for information which was met by concise handwritten news-sheets. In 1556, the government of Venice first published the monthly notizie scritte, which cost one gazette, a small coin. These avvisi were handwritten newsletters and used to convey political, military, and economic news quickly and efficiently to Italian cities —sharing some characteristics of newspapers though usually not considered true newspapers. However, none of these publications fully met the classical criteria for proper newspapers, as they were typically not intended for the general public and restricted to a certain range of topics.
EuropeThe first mechanical, movable type printing that allowed the mass production of printed books was invented by Johann Gutenberg. In the 50 years after Gutenberg started printing, an estimated 500,000 books were in circulation, printed on about 1,000 presses across the continent. Gutenberg's invention was a simple device, but it launched a revolution marked by repeated advances in technology and, as a result, a popularization of the ideals of liberty and freedom of information exchange.
The emergence of the new media in the 17th century has to be seen in close connection with the spread of the printing press from which the publishing press derives its name. The German-language Relation aller Fürnemmen und gedenckwürdigen Historien, printed from 1605 onwards by Johann Carolus in Strasbourg, is often recognized as the first newspaper. At the time, Strasbourg was a free imperial city in the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation; the first newspaper of modern Germany was the Avisa, published in 1609 in Wolfenbüttel. They distinguished themselves from other printed material by being published on a regular basis. They reported on a variety of current events to a broad public audience. Within a few decades, newspapers could be found in all the major cities of Europe, from Venice to London.
The Dutch Courante uyt Italien, Duytslandt, &c. of 1618 was the first to appear in folio- rather than quarto-size. Amsterdam, a center of world trade, quickly became home to newspapers in many languages, often before they were published in their own country. The first English-language newspaper, Corrant out of Italy, Germany, etc., was published in Amsterdam in 1620. A year and a half later, Corante, or weekely newes from Italy, Germany, Hungary, Poland, Bohemia, France and the Low Countreys. was published in England by an "N.B." and Thomas Archer. The first newspaper in France was published in 1631, La Gazette.
The first newspaper in Italy, in accordance with the oldest issue still preserved, was Di Genova published in 1639 in Genoa. The first newspaper in Portugal, A Gazeta da Restauração, was published in 1641 in Lisbon. The first Spanish newspaper, Gaceta de Madrid, was published in 1661.
Post- och Inrikes Tidningar was first published in Sweden in 1645, and is the oldest newspaper still in existence, though it now publishes solely online. Opregte Haarlemsche Courant from Haarlem, first published in 1656, is the oldest paper still printed. It was forced to merge with the newspaper Haarlems Dagblad in 1942 when Germany occupied the Netherlands. Since then the Haarlems Dagblad has appeared with the subtitle Oprechte Haerlemse Courant 1656. Merkuriusz Polski Ordynaryjny was published in Kraków, Poland in 1661. The first successful English daily, The Daily Courant, was published from 1702 to 1735.